There was a time, not so long ago, that a weekend of rugby meant travelling by coach to some provincial clubhouse with a bunch of overweight, aged alcoholics to spend most of the time with your pants on your head being fined for acting like a lightweight and having to drink your own urine. There was also some rugby. Things have changed in the last few years, however, thanks to events like the Bournemouth Sevens.
Where Does it Come From?
The idea of a rugby ‘festival’ was dreamt up by Roger ‘Dodge’ Woodall, a former professional player and a man on a mission to take rugby kicking and screaming into the present day. It started 5 years ago and has become known as the sporting Glastonbury, with the emphasis just as much on the music and entertainment as on the rugby pitch. However, it still attracts top flight sevens teams to its competitions and it’s pretty common to see some household rugby names playing and partying.
9 Cups to Play For
With 30,000 revellers expected for the weekend, there are many cups to play for and over 400 teams competing for them. These range from the V-10 National Cup to The Shandy Cup, which describes itself as a social competition and which you can read as a hung-over/still drunk one. And to prove that rugby really has moved with the times there will also be girls there…quite a lot of them; some playing rugby, some playing netball and all of them partying like they mean it.
What Else Is Going On?
Rugby entertainment has also become slightly more sophisticated since the days of boat race teams and blowing up balloons with a mouthful of crackers. The weekend includes festival arenas, live bands, DJ’s, a dance tent, beer tents and a pitchside Jacuzzi, which for me can only constitute a warm place to have a nice wee. But make no mistake; this is a serious party weekend and one that will involve plenty of on and off pitch stamina to get the most from it.